HUDSON – The Hudson City Schools administration "is creating multiple scenarios" that will reflect both the guidance the state’s districts get, in addition to the number of COVID-19 cases, said Superintendent Phil Herman.
Details of the reopening plan will be unveiled the week of July 27, Herman added during the July 13 school board meeting.
"We want to be on site as much as possible," Herman said, adding there will be a virtual option available for those families who would prefer educating their children remotely. "We want to be prepared to go to remote learning with a better, more enhanced format that will be in place at any time."
Herman said that depending on the severity of the pandemic, the district may have to switch to all-online instruction.
"We will have a layering of mitigation strategies," he said. "As much as we want our students to be in place, it won’t be school as usual for a long time. This school year will require a tremendous amount of flexibility, a tremendous amount of patience. We may have to make adjustments to keep students and staff safe. We want the best education as possible while being ready to make changes to keep everyone safe."
Board member James Field said that there were "a lot of moving parts" in reopening this school year.
"We will need to take as many safety precautions as possible," Field said.
Herman said there were 3,221 respondents to a survey offered between July 7 and 12, which asked several questions about school reopening, transportation, and food services. Responses were broken down by school building.
One question was if parents would send their children back if there was no vaccine, but the buildings were open with safety protocols in place.
In Evamere Elementary School, 74.4% of families responded they would have their children return to the school buildings; 18.9% were undecided, and 5.4% stated they would opt for all-online option.
Families wishing for their children to go online full-time would have to commit to a trimester, at the elementary schools, or a semester at the middle and high schools, Herman said.
Herman said less than 1% of families said they would not take classes through the district at all.
When asked about transportation, just over half of families said that their children have always used the bus and would continue this school year, Herman said.
About 20% of families said that they had always used the bus before but will drive their children this year. A small percentage, 4.2%, stated they never used the bus before but would use it this coming year.
Field asked whether there was a potential for increased traffic around the schools, and if more staff would be needed to oversee drop-off and pickup. Herman said he did anticipate more traffic, and that more staff would be needed to assist.
Board Vice President Steve DiMauro said that he "had a lot of parents asking about safety protocols."
"For example, when I was picking my daughter up from the high school, I did notice that students were spread apart, observing social distancing," DiMauro said. "And that is great. But part of the return to school program, we need to communicate expectations to parents, students, staff, and create a common understanding on how to administer those processes."
Herman said that communication on safety protocol and other issues would be done "up to the days students come back."
"We will use the remainder of July and August to communicate with parents, staff, and students," Herman said.
The next two meetings will be July 27 and Aug. 10, starting at 7 p.m. Both will be done virtually, with links to watch the meeting provided at https://www.hudson.k12.oh.us/ and on the agenda.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org